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    Pills of long life from Sardinia, and live to be a hundred - pill n. 3

    In this new journey along the coast of Sardinia searching for the elixir of life, also know as elixir of immortality,  be ready to be fascinated by one of the most exotic regions of our island. 


    Sail with us by the coast of Sulcis Iglesiente, located in the extreme south-west of Sardinia, famous for its ancient origins and traditions. Discover wild and unspoiled landscapes characterizing this Sardinian territory: experience a relaxing walk in the beautiful Sulcis Natural Park, admire the famous Pan di Zucchero near Iglesias, breathe some good fresh air in the green pine forest of Porto Pino. Then immerse yourself in the crystalline waters of the Gulf of Palmas, from where you can admire the white salt pans of Sant'Antioco and, finally, visit the superb island of San Pietro, called the "green island" for its luxuriant nature.
    This stunning territory of Sulcis-Iglesiente has always had a delicious fusion cuisine, combining elements of the sea and the mountains of the inlan. This exquisite dishes are often contaminated by the influences of the ancient people who invaded and colonized it, such as Arabs, Piedmontese and Ligurians. In particular, Sulcis Iglesiente is famous for its rich flavors: myrtle, oil, mushrooms and asphodel honey, as well as thistle, chestnut, strawberry tree and wine. 
    In the islands of San Pietro and Sant'Antioco fish dominates the table, tuna, protagonist of the Girotonno festival, that during the month of May attracts many tourists, is at the basis of many peculiar typical local products, such as tunnina, made from less fatty meats, bottarga, or dried eggs, and musciame, which is the result of drying and salting the fillet.

    This beautiful region has its own distinctive culinary identity. Travel with us to discover its delicious must-try traditional delicacies!

    FROM PORTO PINO TO CARLOFORTE

    Start your lunch in Porto Pino with an aperitif! Enjoy Pani cun Tamatiga, also known by the name of pratzida or mustazzeddu, a traditional seasoned bread, normally made with ripe tomatoes or, according to the creativity of those who prepare it, with aubergines or other vegetables. This delicious bread is made from a mixture of durum wheat flour (semolina or semolina and durum wheat flour), extra virgin olive oil, excellent tomatoes, garlic and fresh basil.

    Add a Ligurian farinata to the table, a delicious oven-baked savory pie made from chickpea flour, water and oil. Its Ligurian origins come from a group of colonists from Pegli (Genoa) settled here in the mid-eighteenth century, emigrating from the island of Tabarka (near Bizerte, on the southern coast of Africa). In Carloforte still today locals do not speak Sardinian, but, fluently, the Genoise d'Otre Mer dialect, widespread in past centuries in the Genoese Maritime Republic and its lands. 

    The dough is placed in tinned round copper pan, and baked for about fifteen minutes. Farinata is served on a paper wrapper and is also eaten immediately on the street, as done in Genoa. Besides Carloforte, farinata can be found in Sassari, where it was imported in the early twentieth century by a Genoese family.

    Get lost in the vast choice of starters, sipping on a glass of Carignano del Sulcis!

    Among the wines produced in this area, have a taste of  Carignano, one of the most characteristic of its kind, with a dark ruby ​​red color, tending to garnet, probably introduced in Sardinia by the Phoenicians. Its flavor is very rich and intense, with hints of cooked plum, dried fruit and marasca cherries, with a full and well structured taste.

    Carignano is also nicknamed "wine that comes from the sea", because its grapes grow on sandy soils, right in front of the coast.

    For those who prefer whites, go for the characteristic grape variety of this area: Nuragus, which gives life to a light white wine to be consumed throughout the meal. 

    In Sulcis serving many different tuna appetizers at the table is the rule, taste the sea with their unmistakable and sublime flavor. They range from tuniña, tuna meat preserved in salt, to bütàiga (tuna eggs), from cö (heart) to musciamme, tuna fillet, both preserved in salt and hung to dry. 

    For the sea lovers, now revisited in many different versions, try the cappunadda, a dish made with crackers and tuna salami that fishermen used to consume on the boat, today offered in most restaurants in the Island of San Pietro, often among appetizers.

    It is enriched by softened biscuits, gallette, combined with tomatoes, “facussa” and various types of tuna all seasoned with oil, vinegar, pepper and basil. The facussa carlofortina is a thin, elongated cucumber (30/40 cm), curved and twisted. Typical of the Maghreb whose seeds were taken from the tabarch colonists, it was brought to Carloforte and transplanted to the island's vegetable gardens. It has a fresh and delicate flavor, a popular ingredient of tuna based summer salads. This vegetable which can also be eaten alone as a fruit, can hardly be savored outside of Carloforte.

    Galetta can be considered the bread of sailors. Its bakery comes in fact from the ancient tradition of the Ligurian seafarers. It is prepared with flour, water, salt, yeast and lard ,and then cooked twice and packaged in a round shape, roughly the size of a CD and no thicker than 1 cm. 

     

    Sailing by Calasetta, follow with one or more traditional first course! 

    Start with the delicious Pilau, a sort of shellfish soup, with lobster and other crustaceans (e.g. scampi, prawns), cut into pieces and browned with olive oil and chopped onions, then cooked separately with fresh diced tomatoes, chopped basil, pepper and salt. When the soup is ready, fregola or scucuzu pasta must be added. Pilau is in fact a typical dish of Calasetta, cooked with scucuzu pasta, originally from Genoa. It is a type of dry short pasta, cylindrical in shape, 4 or 5 mm long, which is used in typical vegetable soups. In Carloforte it is used in chickpea and bean soups to prepare pilau. With similar names, both pasta and "pilau" were known in Tunisia and on the island of Tabarca at the time when the Genoese lived there: another proof of the fusion of different traditions and cultures. 

    Continue with a first course in Portoscuso! Among the main specialties try pansotti ravioli with a pesto, walnut sauce, or tomatoes, fresh basil, olives and capers.

    In Carloforte have a taste of pastissu, which in tabarchino means mess. And a bit of a mess it is, at least for the variety of ingredients with which this home-made pasta is presented. The type of pasta must be strictly, casulli, a sort of homemade gnocchetti, curzétti, a sort of orecchiette and macaruin, all belonging to the most deeply rooted culinary tradition of the Tabarch.  These three varieties of pasta can be part of the same cooking, or combined two by two. The seasoning must be pesto and tomato sauce prepared with tuna.

    For the most adventurous Sulcis offers plenty of very characteristic tasty dishes, difficult to find outside the island. 

    Have a serving of figatellu, the tuna lattume, that can be tasted boiled or packaged in meatballs, and bélu, an exquisite dish, with a unique and unmistakable flavor. It is made with the stomach of preserved tuna, dried in the sun with salt, most appreciated and sought after by gourmands. Its preparation takes some time, as before cooking it has to soak in water to soften and desalinate. Then boiled for almost an hour, it is cut into strips and stir-fried in a pan with oil and onion, fresh tomatoes and chilli peppers. When the flavors are well blended, well cooked potatoes are added. 

    For the vegetarians la bòbba is the best choice, creamy but not too dense soup with a characteristic and inimitable taste, sometimes served with slices of toasted bread. 

    La bòbba is a traditional tabarchina soup made of dried broad beans soaked and then cooked over a low heat. During cooking time, potatoes, cauliflowers or courgettes, finely chopped, and a few pressed garlic cloves are added, with an olive oil seasoning.
     

    For those who are willing to go for something more exotic, the cashcà is the best candidate, a sort of couscous, finding its roots in the African cuisine, from the Arabs who landed on the island in the eighth century. The semolina balls of this couscous variant are a little larger than the universally known one, and served with vegetables, fish or meat based sauces. In particular, the fregula stufada is firstly cooked in meat broth, stir-fried with onion, sprinkled with pecorino cheese and then oven-cooked. The cascà is the couscous from Carloforte, together with tuna is the main dish of the people of Carloforte who lived for almost two centuries on the islet of Tabarca, in Tunisia. The preparation of cascà requires gestures, almost rituals, transmitted from mothers to daughters, like the action of working the semolina, with the hand making circular movements, keeping the fingers slightly open and the palm raised, so as not to clump,  and moistened occasionally with water and then wet with oil to steam. In accordance with its Maghreb origins, it must be the tabarchino cascà, is a convivial and festive food, and this is one of the reasons why it is prepared in abundant quantities. Its consumption is often extended to all members of the family "enlarged" (grandparents, uncles, cousins ​​etc.). Cascà, for the multiplicity of its ingredients, lends itself to different variations. The differences are minimal and are due to the vegetables used as a condiment which vary according to the season to the use, otherwise, of the meat in its dressing. In any case, the preparation of the semolina is the most important, and also the most difficult, action in the making of the dish. Once semolina is prepared, it is placed in the couscous pan and steamed then seasoned.  Chickpeas, peas, cabbage, and various vegetables prepared previously separately are then added.

     

    Absolute master of this area is bluefin tuna: prepared in a thousand different ways, from tartar to bottarga, to grilled steak. 

    Tuna can be considered the king of Sulcis’ cuisine. Every part of it is cooked in a thousand ways and with so many different sauces, with simple and ancient methods. One of the most popular dishes is the so-called tuna alla carlofortina, a recipe that is highly appreciated and "requested" even by vacationers. The part of the fish that is best suited for the preparation of this dish is the cüdélla which is located almost near the tail. After being sliced ​​or diced, it is put in a pan for a short frying. Once drained the tuna is browned in a pan, a little vinegar is added together with bay leaves and a glass of wine to blend Another very simple and usual preparation of tuna is boiling it in very salty water. In fact until not many years ago sea water was used. It can be served immediately seasoned with oil surrounded by tomatoes or potatoes and boiled green beans, or preserved in oil in glass jars. After tasting the tuna prepared in this way, you will notice the abysmal difference in taste, compared to the canned one that you buy in the supermarkets!

    Carloforte cuisine obviously does not end here. Many other dishes and many other sauces have the same rank as the dishes and condiments described above. Visit Carloforte to find out more! 

    Treat yourself to a local dessert with canestrelli alla tabarkina. It is the quintessential dessert in Sulcis, consisting of a mixture of flour, lard, sugar, egg yolk, yeast and vanillin. Canestrelli are baked in the oven with a donut shape, a circular ring with a diameter of 10/12 centimeters and coated with a glaze (hood) made from whipped egg white with sprinkies on top. Canestrelli, whose name could derive from sea jargon (canestrello is in fact a wooden ring used in the armor of sails) are sweet with moderate durability and are often eaten dipped in wine or muscat. All the traditional desserts for the kids are made with the same dough as the canestrelli: the luña, for Palm Sunday, the cavagnetti for Easter, the pe de porcu for All Saints and the fantiña for Christmas.

    For those in love with gelato spoil your palate with paciugo, a creamy dessert served in a tall glass, made of vanilla ice cream, laid on a soft layer of whipped cream on top and sprinkled with a few pieces of strawberry, then covered with a layer of strawberry ice cream. Finished with a rich tuft of whipped cream with grenadine syrup poured flat.

    Sulcis Iglesiente is still a little known destination, which is certainly stunning and surprising, and where it is possible to rediscover the ancient charm of the Mediterranean, in the most hidden and spectacular corners.

    If you have never been to Sulcis Iglesiente you have more than one good reason to come visit, add this unspoiled destination to your itinerary!

    ***

    Here you have another couple of ingredients for the long life Elixir, mix them as you wish and stay tuned for other tips as we will be heading towards the amazing North West coast, another little world in our island continent! 

    Do not hesitate to contact our Provisions department by mail at provisions@nayacht.com to get recipes of the above listed dishes or to have them catered on board during your cruising along our coasts. 

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